H 2 the O

How Much Water Should I Drink?

WAIT! Before you continue reading, stop what you are doing and drink a glass of water - you’re welcome! Now you’re one glass down and closer to your goal than you were just a few minutes ago. Most of us get so busy during our days that we forget to do the simplest thing that will actually help and benefit us to be more productive. A simple reminder such as an alarm can help us get one of our most important nutrients in. And since our bodies are approximately 60% water, we cannot survive without it! Medical News Today breaks it down even further and shows us how much each vital part of us is actually water:

BODY PART

WATER PERCENTAGE

Brain

80-85%

Kidneys

80-85%

Heart

75-80%

Lungs

75-80%

Muscles

70-75%

Liver

70-75%

Skin

70-75%

Blood

50%

Bones

20-25%

Teeth

8-10%


*Variance depends on sex, age, activity level and other health related factors.

Think about it…..how much water do you actually drink in a day? When I looked it up I knew it was going to be pretty low, but I was shocked to know how little water was consumed by people! According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forty-three percent of adults drink less than four cups of water a day! That thirty-six percent who drink one to three cups, and seven percent who drink none! That’s just crazy to me! On the upside though, 35 percent of Americans drink 4-7 cups a day, while twenty-two percent drink eight or more.

Why is Water so Important for the Body?

Myself, as well I am sure a lot of you, grew up hearing that eight glasses of water per day is the standard. So why does it vary? Health habits contribute a huge factor actually. If you are someone who consumes very little fruits and vegetables a day, doesn’t exercise much, smokes or used to be a smoker, eats fast food more than once a week, and the like, you are more likely to not consume the amount of water your body really needs to function at its best.

Truth be told though that the “8 glasses of water per day” saying is actually out because of all of the factors listed above (and then some). It truly depends on who you are and what your body specifically needs.

Now how much water do we truly need depending on our age, sex and even lifestyle? According to WebMD,  a general rule of thumb is that you consume at least half of your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you would need to consume at least 80 ounces of water each day and up to 160 ounces depending on your size, weight, activity level and where you live even. In short, if you’re living in a hotter climate and exercising a lot, you’d be on the higher end of the range; if you’re in a cooler climate and don’t move much throughout the day (i.e. sitting most of the day), you’d be on the lower end.

You may be asking yourself “Uh Kerry, that’s way more than the eight 8 oz glasses per day that was recommended to us years ago! Why so much?!” Well over the years there have been countless studies and trials done that proved why we need more. Think of your body as a car for a moment and the water like the oil. What happens when your car is running low on oil? It doesn’t run as well, right? Well our bodies are just the same, if we do not have enough water our bodies are not functioning at their peak and can eventually (overtime with low water consumption) break down and cause serious health issues.

Water is crucial to the everyday functions of our bodies as you have read. Here are 7 benefits of why getting an adequate amount of water each day is so important:

  • Helps maximize physical performance
  • Significantly affects energy levels and brain function
  • May help prevent and treat headaches
  • May help relieve constipation
  • May help treat kidney stones
  • Helps prevent hangovers
  • Can aid in weight loss

Does the pH level of your drinking water really matter?

In the above list, if you have any of these ailments at all it can possibly be due to the fact you are not consuming enough water. Of course other medical issues may be the cause of these things in which you need to be speaking with a doctor about, but increasing your daily water intake even for a week to see if your symptoms lessen is worth a shot in my opinion!

If you struggle to get enough water each day, as I am sure a lot of us do, here are some helpful tips to help you reach your goal. Remember to start out slow and gradually increase your water intake each day so as to not make your body feel sick, bloated or water logged.

  • Flavor it!
    • Add fruit to your water. Lemons, limes and oranges are a great choice! But try also adding cucumber, watermelon, strawberries and herbs in different combinations to change it up.
  • Tie it into a routine.
    • Drink a glass of water every time you wake up, brush your teeth, eat a meal or use the bathroom.
  • Eat it.
    • Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content, including melon, cucumbers, lettuce and celery.
  • Track it.
    • Set an alarm or use a water tracking device app on your phone that sends you reminders. There are even high-tech bottle options that connects to your phone and keeps track of your water.
  • Challenge a friend.
    • Kick off a healthy competition with a friend or your kids to see who can meet their goal each day.
  • Take it on the go.
    • Make sure to fill your water bottle each day before you leave home (there are so many half gallon and even gallon water bottles on Amazon).
  • Alternate your drinks.
    • If you can’t give up soda or juice completely, try alternating with water at first and slowly increase your amount of water while decreasing your soda or juice consumption. Each time you finish a glass of water, switch to a zero/low calorie/sugar soda or juice and vise versa.

All great ideas on ways to help you increase your water intake in the safest ways in order to help you become a healthier, happier, and more hydrated you!

How do I know if I'm drinking enough water?

Now is there such a thing as too much water? Yes, actually there is! Below are the dangers of drinking too much water. This is why the average person needs to stay in the lower to mid range of ounces per day and not the upper or over exceed the amount your body really needs to function properly unless you live in warmer climates, are active in your job, exercise 150+ minutes each week and/or are an athlete:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

In severe cases:

  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness or cramping
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Double vision
  • Confusion
  • Inability to identify sensory information
  • Difficulty breathing

These can all affect the brain stem and cause central nervous system dysfunction. In very severe cases, water intoxication can cause seizures, brain damage, a coma, and even death. Sounds scary I know, but there is such a thing as overdoing it on the healthy side of things even.

Bottom line - find the best amount and ways that works for you in order to make sure you are giving your body one of its most important nutrients it needs to function at its peak. Even mild dehydration can throw your body off both mentally and physically. We all just need to find the best ways that work for each of us individually in order to……….

#EatWellLiveBetter

Like what you have been reading over the past 8 weeks from me? Head on over to the Top 80 Nashville Blogs and Websites page where not only Eat Well, but 79 other awesome blog writers and websites are listed featuring all things about Nashville. Whether you’re looking for healthy eating tips/recipes, mom/family tips, fashion and beauty, fun things to do and see while in Nashville, and so much more, this site has it all right there for you!

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